British Columbia Heritage Rivers Program

The role of the Heritage Rivers Program is to encourage community-based stewardship, to provide a model for public participation in river management, to formally recognize outstanding examples of our river heritage and to reflect the vision for each river as we move into the future.

B.C. Heritage Rivers System

Starting in 1995 the B.C. Heritage Rivers System worked to select 20 rivers representative of the diversity of B.C.’s Rivers. The first 7 rivers were designated in 1996. In the year 2000 the final two (2) rivers were proclaimed and the system was completed.

Canadian Heritage Rivers System

British Columbia joined the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in 1995. Today there are three (3) B.C. Rivers designated under the national program. The Heritage River Program will work to designate two (2) additional B.C. Heritage Rivers to Canadian Heritage River Status.

B.C. Heritage River News

Cowichan River 10 Year Monitoring Report

Flowing 47 km from Cowichan Lake to Cowichan Bay, the Cowichan River is part of the traditional territory of the Cowichan First Nation. They have lived on its banks, plied its waters, used and cared for its resources for thousands of years.

In recent history the river has become renowned for excellent fishing, natural beauty, whitewater recreation in the winter and swimming/tubing in the summer. The main stem of the river was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 2003. Under the Canadian Heritage Rivers program, it is the responsibility of managing jurisdictions to prepare a ten-year monitoring report to ensure that the river continues to possess the outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values for which it was designated.

View the Report Here [PDF 1.35MB]

Cowichan River Designation

On November 5, 2005, a plaque commemorating the Cowichan River’s designation to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System was unveiled by federal, provincial and First Nations officials. Here is the joint news release and backgrounder for more information.

Fraser River 10 Year Monitoring Report

Travelling 1,370 kilometres from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to its mouth at the Strait of Georgia, the Fraser River is the longest river in British Columbia. Renowned for its biological diversity and natural beauty, the Fraser drains more than a quarter of the province. The Fraser River Basin is now home to 2.73 million people or 67% of British Columbia’s (B.C.) population. The main stem of the river was nominated as a Canadian Heritage River in 1997 and designated in 1998 in recognition of its exceptional natural, cultural, and recreational values.

Over the past 10 years, the key natural and cultural heritage values, and recreational values of the Fraser River that supported its Canadian Heritage River designation remain and are described in this report. In the context of this report, it is also timely to flag the challenges ahead for the Fraser. While Canada is blessed with 7% of the world’s freshwater, its rivers are not immune to the pressures on freshwater ecosystems worldwide. The Fraser River is vulnerable to the impacts of human population growth, habitat loss and degradation, pollution and invasive species, and to the overarching threat of climate change, which impacts water flow regimes and temperatures.

View the Report Here [PDF 4.52B]

Adams River Nomination